BRING ON THE BASICS: For Kids that Don’t Like Team Sports!

Running around the yard or playing kickball with friends is the essence of what it means to be a kid. They are gaining aerobic fitness, strength, social skills and much more just by PLAYING!

Getting kids on the right path towards a long healthy lifestyle all starts with basic fundamental movement skills (FMS) that are learned by participating in basically any activity that teaches body awareness, balance and coordination such as catching, kicking, jumping, balancing, throwing, etc. The easiest way to help kids improve these skills is to simply PLAY. A game of tag, Simon says, kickball, or 4-square is a great way to gain basic FMS.

What about the kids that don’t naturally feel motivated or confident to participate in school yard games or afterschool sports? It’s important to build their confidence and skills with similar movements that are simple and fun that can be done at home or with a friend afterschool.

Check out these great beginner moves/games to develop aerobic fitness, strength, balance and coordination.

Pick 4-5 of these moves per day (starting with 1-2 is a great way to begin).

Set small goals by trying to complete 1 set of each move and then progressing to the full recommendations.

FUNdamental Exercises!

1. Skipping: Perform in place or moving. In place skip for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat this 5-10 times (sets). Skipping improves coordination, rhythm, and strength.

2. Single Legged Hops: Perform in place or moving. In place hop for 15 seconds on each leg and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat this 5-10 times.  It’s also fun to use a line and hop down the line and back for 30 seconds to add variety of movement. Try hopping backwards for an added challenge!

3. Jumping Jacks: Perform in place for 10 reps and then rest for 30 seconds. Add 5 reps to your number (15,20, 25, 30) and rest for 30 seconds in between each set. Try to reach 30 reps in a row for your last set.

4. Hop Scotch: Use chalk to draw the ladder and number each step of the ladder 1-10. Every time they complete the ladder they get 1 point and their goal is 10! If performing in place: Hop Scotch for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds.  Try and repeat this 5-10 times.

5. Card Catch: Use a deck of playing cards for this.  Throw up one card at a time and see if they can catch it before it hits the ground. This is a great way to interact with kids and encourage them one on one. It’s also fun to play with multiple kids who can cheer each other on.  If playing with more than 1 kid, give them each 5 tries and have them alternate turns. Go through the entire deck as many times as desired!

6. Tennis Ball Bounce Pass: Perform with a partner or against a wall. With a partner, bounce the tennis ball between you and your partner so they can catch it. Alternate bounce passes back and forth. To progress, try and catch it with one hand versus two. To set an added challenge, set up goals about 10 feet wide and try to score with a bounce pass through your partners goal.

7. Jump Rope: Perform in place or moving. Jump rope for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Add an extra 10 seconds to your next set (40, 50, 60) and rest for 30 seconds only between each set. Try and get to 60 seconds on your last set.

Remember that the more you move, you more you improve! Now GET READY, GET SET & GET FIT!

Anna Renderer, MS

KFIT Health, LLC

Parents! Encourage Your Kids to be Active!

1. Ask your kid what they did during their workout- Kids that go to practice or exercise individually or with a group, accomplish a lot during their workouts. Asking them what they learned during their workout will challenge them to remember the things they did, get them excited again about the workout, and increase parent/child interaction which will aid in your kid’s willingness to communicate with you.

 2.  Encourage your kid to try a new sport- Parents ask me all the time the best way for their young child to improve on their athletic abilities. I always suggest having their kid play multiple sports if they are not doing so. Being exposed to different sports will allow the child to experience multiple movement patterns. This in turn can aid in improving athletic development especially for pre-adolescents.

3. Preach water!!!!!!!!!!!!!- Water is the foundation of our body thus should be the primary source of our liquid intake. Encourage your child to drink water by having them bring a water bottle to every workout. Additionally, have them drink a glass when they wake up and a glass before they go to bed. This will establish the good habit of drinking water and having it a part of their daily routine.

4. Encouragement- Kids love positive reinforcement especially from their parents. Praise them when they workout or eat a balanced meal. Tell them you are proud of the good choices they are making and continue to share with them the benefits of these choices. The more good they here from you the more likely they will have a desire to continue a healthy lifestyle.

Article By: Jeff King

Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, NSCA

Jeff King has worked with hundred of young kids from ages 8-13. In addition to working with kids, Jeff has designed numerous programs for young athletes that are structure to improve all aspects of health and fitness among kids. Jeff’s innovative and creative thought process has allowed him to work with kids of all levels and backgrounds.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

How Best to Hydrate Your Sporty Kid!

Saturday morning at my home this past weekend. Three sets of misplaced shin guards. Three new coaches to remember. Three kids running in different directions.  And nearly forgotten as we fly out the door… three water bottles.  Forget the balls, forget the money for pictures, even forget the coaches’ names. But even in this beautiful cool autumn air, don’t forget the water bottles.

We are all accustomed to reminding our children to hydrate well during summer sports, but when the weather grows cooler we sometimes let our guard down.  Because thirst does not always correlate with dehydration,  children often misjudge their own hydration status.    Teach your children to recognize  headache and nausea as one of the first symptoms of dehydration.  If  they “just don’t feel right ,” take a break.

Don’t depend on the coach.   Learn to recognize when your child needs to rest and hydrate.   A mother I met at field hockey Saturday says she can always tell if one of her girls needs a break because a subtle white ring appears around her mouth.

For hydration outside of sports, the best liquids for kids over two years old are skim milk and water.  Reserve juice for constipated children or the picky eater who will not eat fruit.  Even then, limit juice to once a day.  Consumption of sweet beverages multiple times a day encourages a sweet tooth and gives only empty calories.  Also, even juice diluted with water has the power to decay teeth- just ask my nephew who had over ten cavities filled two days ago.

Drink water up to half an hour prior to a sports activity.  For young children who only play for an hour or so, water is a good choice for hydration.  Enforce drinking approximately every 20 minutes.   For the more competitive players who churn up a sweat, electrolyte replenishers such as Gatorade and Powerade  become important.  After 20-30 minutes of sweating, a body can lose salt and sugar.   At that point, switch to rehydration with electrolyte replenishers.   My sister, an Emergency Medicine doctor,  tells the story of a young woman played ultimate frisbee all day, and lost a large amount of salt through  sweating.  Because she also drank large amounts of water, she “diluted” the salt that was still in her blood and had a seizure.  If your child plays an early morning sport, start the hydration process the night before so that they don’t wake up already behind on fluids.

Avoid caffeine which is found in  some sodas, iced tea and many of the energy drinks.   Caffeine tends to dehydrate.  Alcohol also dehydrates (think of the copious amount of fluid lost in urine after consumption of beer).

So, before your kid’s next sports activity, remember the helmet, remember the shin guards, remember the padding and remember one of the most protective pieces of equipment  of all – the water bottle.

Naline Lai, MD with Julie Kardos, MD
Updated June 3, 2012, Two Peds in a Pod®


It can be expensive to keep kids active all summer long with camps and recreational activities. Here is a fun way to get kids active around the house and it doesn’t cost $$! You can even change the obstacles and keep score all summer long.


Set up a relay or obstacle course around the house, yard, or apartment. Set a goal, designate a prize, and have fun!

Pick at least 5 different stations for the obstacle course.

Ideas of stations include:

1. Couch Sit and Jump: Sit slowly onto the couch and then jump up off your feet, land softly and repeat 20 times

2. Kitchen Sock Running Man: Wear slippery socks in the kitchen and while your in a push up position, slide your feet up, down and all around for 30 seconds.

3. Hallway or Outdoor shuttle run: pick a short distance and quickly sprint from one end to the other 10 times as fast as you can!

These are just a few ideas and we would love to hear others! Now GET READY, GET SET & GET FIT this summer!

5 Tips to Get Kids to Eat their Fruits and Vegetables!

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables is one of the biggest concerns that parents have regarding their children’s diet.  It’s recommended that kids get at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables in their diet every day.  But, most kids aren’t getting that amount.  Below are 5 tips that can help children get their 5 a day!

  1.  Cut it!  Kids love when food is cut into pieces that they can pick up.  An apple or orange might sit on the counter in the fruit bowl.  But, cut it up and all of a sudden it is much more appealing.  Even the fast food restaurants have figured this out and instead of just handing a child an apple or orange with their kid’s meal, they get apple or mandarin slices!
  2. Dip it!  Some vegetables can be bitter to a child’s immature taste buds.  Offering a yogurt or ranch dip can add the flavor they like and helps mellow out the taste of the vegetable.
  3. Hide it! What they don’t know won’t hurt them!  By disguising fruits and vegetables, kids will get the nutrients they need.  Plus, without knowing it, kids will learn to develop the taste for the vegetables or fruits and their taste buds will be more accepting of the fruit or vegetable in the future.  Smoothies are a perfect way to blend in a few servings of fruits and/or vegetables.  You can also puree vegetables like carrots or spinach and add that to a pasta sauce!  For more ideas, check out Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious”.
  4. Grow it! Gardens are a great way to get kids to eat more fruits and veggies!     I took my sons (7 and 9) to their grandmother’s house and they ate just-picked sugar snap peas.  I was shocked!  First of all, they tried it without whining and second, they liked it and asked for more!  Since the fruits and vegetables can be picked when they are ripe, they often taste better than the store bought version.   Kids love to see the food grow and helping them be a part of the process encourages healthy eating!
  5. Make it fun!  Put cream cheese on celery and add raisins on top and you have Ants on a Log.  Use cookie cutters to cut watermelon or cucumbers into fun shapes.  The more appealing it looks, the more kids want to try it.  For some fun ideas, check out

Be creative and persistent and try to offer at least 1 or 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables at each meal!

Pat Cantrell, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician, President, KFIT Health, LLC




KFIT in the Schools!

KFIT Health shares the ‘JUMPSTART YOUR HEALTH’ DVD with the kids from Golden Ave. Elementary!

It’s important to keep kids active during the school day. It brings healthy blood flow to the brain, increases mental stamina, mood, and overall health.

Organic Fruit and Veggies: Health or Hype?

Click on Photo to learn about Two Peds in a Pod!
Nutritionists are urging parents to feed kids one and one-half cups of fruit and two and one-half cups of vegetables daily and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests whole fruit rather than juice to meet most of the daily fruit requirements. 

Nutritionists are urging parents to feed kids one and one-half cups of fruit and two and one-half cups of vegetables daily and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests whole fruit rather than juice to meet most of the daily fruit requirements. 

OK, so that’s fine, but why spend a lot more money to buy those fruits and veggies labed organic? Are they worth it? Will non-organic produce harm your kid? No easy answers here. American consumers demand a bountiful supply of blemish-free, perfect fruits and vegetables. We want unspotted shiny red apples, brightly colored large oranges and arrow-straight asparagus. Farmers want to give us just that. Since pests attack crops causing blemishes, worms, blight, and other forms of costly crop damage, farmers have been using pesticides for years to increase crop yield, profit, and visual marketability. 

The US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the agricultural procedures and labeling that use the buzz word organic. Obviously every business wants to put that word on their product if it means consumers will run out and buy it. The USDA will certify farms that use organic methods. But even the USDA’s definition of organic allows a percentage of synthetic chemicals to be added to products labeled organic. Also organic does not mean that the food contains increased amounts of essential minerals and vitamins or is more nutritious for you. And remember that organic produce doesn’t necessarily come from small, cuddly, local, family-run farms. Most large, international agribusinesses are touting organic foods for sale these days.

Well over one billion pounds of pesticides, according to the Department of Agriculture, are used on American crops annually. And pesticides tend to be nasty chemicals—otherwise they wouldn’t kill bugs. In large amounts, some types can cause seizures or coma in people. However, all foods , whether organic or non-organic, must contain pesticide residues well below the standard that the government considers safe. Not every piece of non organic fruit even contains a residue; it’s hit and miss.

But what about the long-term safety of pesticides in trace amounts, the amounts barely present as micro-grams or nano-grams? The fact is that no one knows the safety for sure. The science just isn’t there yet. Some dispute the government’s definitions; arguing that children don’t eat the same market basket as adults (they eat more fruit). They reason that using adult pesticide residue standards may not protect children. Recently some scientists did a study where they measured pesticide residue in the urine of school-aged children who were fed regular, market-basket produce, and then measured again after they switched them to organic-only fruits and vegetables. Guess what—kids fed organic foods excreted less pesticide residues in their urine. There’s a powerful argument for organic. But does it matter for their long-term health? Who knows? 

One thing that everyone agrees with—wash all of your fruits and vegetables after you buy them and before anybody in your family eats them. And that means soap and water, not just a quick rinse. Also keep in mind that infants and children are resilient even in this modern age filled with all sorts of hazards. Kids and adults are armed with marvelous defense mechanisms that prevent chemicals from doing bodily harm. Even if a chemical does cause some injury, the body has remarkable mechanisms that repair the damage in a hurry. No need to be “chemical phobic;” you can’t keep your kids in a bubble.

That being said, you still need to be cautious. In pediatrics we often invoke the “precautionary principle.” The idea is that if you don’t exactly know what a chemical will do to a child’s health because there aren’t enough scientific studies out there, then you assume that what it is capable of is bad and so, if possible, try not to expose them, just as a precaution. 

When you can, buy from local farms or stands where you can ask them their growing practices, or else just grow your own. If you decide to buy organic foods, you should eat them right away. They may not stay edible as long without preservatives. Again, no matter what type of food you buy, wash, wash, wash.


Finally, alternative “greener” farming techniques, integrated pest management (IPM), and more resistant varieties of plants have increased crop yields, in many cases without using as much pesticide. That’s good news for all of us. Breeding of genetically-engineered plants require less use of pesticides, but they may not be acceptable to most consumers. That’s a whole column in itself!

The bottom line: My wife and I will try to buy organic foods when we think of it, but we don’t obsess over it when we forget. 

Alan Woolf, MD, MPH, FAACT, FAAP

Director, Pediatric Environmental Health Center, Children’s Hospital Boston

© 2010 Two Peds in a Pod℠

The Most Critical Time to Move is Young!

Central Nervous System and Motor Development

The human body is more adaptable to learning and retaining motor skills at a young age. From the time you are a baby, the central nervous system is developing in combination with your motor development. There is a natural process that occurs to begin walking, eating, and talking but these skills are also better learned through practice, not neglect.

Kids today are neglecting the next critical time in their central nervous system and motor development when they should be moving and discovering their ability to run, catch, throw, balance, and support their own body weight in movement. They are instead watching TV, playing video games or browsing the Internet.

If kids continue to practice developing these motor skills while still young, they will more likely lean towards being more fit and functional human beings instead of sedentary and obese.  When we do things as kids we are more likely to remember and practice those skills, as we grow older.

Simply being active and playing around outside with friends will improve a child’s balance, coordination and overall movement.  Trying more challenging exercises will help them become even more functional and strong.

Encourage activity for every child and set them on a path to better health and physical development.